Dealing with fleas: some natural solutions

Fleas like the warmth and comfort of our homes. Making a house less comfortable for pests is one way of dealing with them without resorting to chemicals, while using natural products that will repel fleas is another. Here are some more natural solutions for problems with fleas.

Dealing with fleas: some natural solutions

Flying start

  • If you have pets, make it a priority to check and treat them for fleas.
  • Vacuum thoroughly and regularly to remove fleas and their eggs and larvae from carpets and floors. It's especially important to vacuum under beds and along skirting boards where dust, dead insects and human skin particles accumulate, providing food for larvae. After you've vacuumed, burn the vacuum bag, or seal it in a plastic bag and place it in the hot sun or in the freezer for 48 hours. This will kill any fleas, larvae or eggs.
  • For a persistent infestation, clean thoroughly and then spray pyrethrum in cracks and crevices, and anywhere you've seen fleas.

Make your own flea powder

What you'll need

  • 500 g (2 cups) baking soda
  • 20 drops pennyroyal essential oil

How to make your flea powder

  1. Mix the baking soda and oil together thoroughly.
  2. Sprinkle over carpets and furniture using a sifter or fine-mesh strainer with a teaspoon.
  3. Leave the powder alone for at least one hour, and then vacuum it up.

Make your own flea spray

What you'll need

  • 2 lemons
  • 500 ml (2 cups) boiling water

How to make your flea spray

  1. Roughly chop your lemons (leave the skins on). Place in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over them.
  2. Steep the mixture overnight, then strain into a spray bottle.
  3. Spray a mist over vacuumed carpets and clean pet bedding.

Tips to help keep your pet flea-free

  • Groom your pet regularly with a flea comb. A flea collar may help, but fleas are becoming more resistant to the chemicals that these collars contain.
  • Use an insect growth regulator. This non-toxic and relatively new form of flea control transmits hormones into the flea eggs and larvae that can stop their growth, helping to reduce fleas as long as all pets in the household are treated with the same product. These growth regulators are available from your veterinarian and come in a variety of forms, including aerosols that are sprayed directly onto your pet and your furnishings, and as tablets that you give your pet with its food.
  • Add some brewer's yeast to your pet's food. It contains substances that produce a skin odour known to deter fleas. Use 30 grams (2 tablespoons) yeast per 4 kilograms (8 pounds) of the animal's body weight and add to moist food.
  • Wash your pet's bedding every week (and any fabric toys or rugs) in the hottest water the fabric can stand and leave to dry in the sun. Launder loose covers on furniture regularly as well, along with any rugs and curtains.
  • Vacuum carpets, curtains and upholstered furniture once a week. Sprinkle a layer of table salt over your upholstery and carpets and leave overnight before vacuuming.

Although all of these tips might make naturally getting rid of fleas sound like a lot of work, choose the one you think will work best and put them into practice to get some positive results.

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